Blue Jays turned down a Josh Donaldson for Jack Flaherty deal. D’oh!

TORONTO, ON - MAY 22: Josh Donaldson #20 of the Toronto Blue Jays hits a double in the first inning during MLB game action against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Rogers Centre on May 22, 2018 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - MAY 22: Josh Donaldson #20 of the Toronto Blue Jays hits a double in the first inning during MLB game action against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Rogers Centre on May 22, 2018 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit

After watching the Cardinals eliminate the Braves last night, it reminded me of a trade that almost happened last year and hurts a lot in hindsight.

The Atlanta Braves were surprisingly eliminated by the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 5 of their ALDS series last night. With the loss, former Blue Jays like Josh Donaldson and GM Alex Anthopoulos now enter the offseason pondering what could have been, and also what to do next, especially as Donaldson will hit the free agent market again.

Watching the Cardinals hand the Braves the loss reminded me of a rumour from last off-season, and when I looked at Twitter last night I found out I wasn’t the only one thinking about what could have been.

Of course, that rumour was from last year when the Cardinals were very interested in acquiring Donaldson while he was still a Toronto Blue Jay. The report was that the Cardinals offered a two-player package for the “Bringer of Rain” that included Jack Flaherty, a young starter who was showing a lot of promise, according to Bob Nightengale of US Today at the time.

More from Jays Journal

If you were paying attention to the National League or the Cardinals at all in 2019, you’ll know that Flaherty had a second half for the ages, and should receive serious consideration for the NL Cy Young Award. He was that good, and the right-hander got the ball for the Cards in the series clincher with the Braves as well. He ended up with a record of 11-8, a 2.75 ERA, and a 0.968 WHIP in 33 starts and 196.1 innings, good for 6.0 bWAR.

It was the second half in particular when he took things to another level though, pitching to a 0.91 ERA in 15 starts after the All-Star break, and posting a 0.715 WHIP over that span. He took his performance to an ace-level, and he’s a huge reason that the Cardinals made the postseason at all.

Hindsight is 20/20 of course, but it’s a real shame that the Blue Jays didn’t make this trade at the time that it was reportedly offered. Flaherty is exactly the type of rotation pillar that Ross Atkins and company need to add to their 25 man roster, and unfortunately they had to settle for Julian Merryweather of the Cleveland Indians, who hasn’t been healthy enough to show us how that’s going to play out. He might be a good pitcher in the end as well, but Flaherty might have some serious hardware before the 2020 season even starts.

Next. Dalton Pompey to suit up for the Olympic qualifier. dark

For the Cardinals, sometimes it’s the trades that you don’t make that end of helping you the most, and they have to be thrilled that things didn’t work out with the Blue Jays last summer. Them’s the breaks, but man, he would looked good with Nate Pearson at the top of the rotation for years to come.

facebooktwitterreddit